Case name: Entine v. Lissner, No. 2:17‐cv‐946 (S.D. Ohio 10/30/17).Ruling: The U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio issued an injunction against Ohio State University.What it means: Regulations promulgated pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act require universities and others to allow the use of a service animal, subject to several narrow exceptions.Summary: A member of the Chi Omega sorority at Ohio State University, identified only as “Ms. Goldman,” complained in October 2017 to the administration that her Crohn's disease was aggravated by an unspecified pet owned by sorority sister Madeline Entine that she kept in the sorority house.Regulations promulgated pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act required universities to allow the use of a “service animal,” except if: (1) its presence would fundamentally alter the nature of services or activities, (2) it would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others, or (3) it was either out of control or not housebroken. Further, a Department of Justice interpretation of those regulations clearly stated that neither allergies nor fear of dogs were valid reasons for denying access to people using service animals.However, OSU disabilities coordinator Scott Lissner decided that the ADA regulations didn't apply to Entine's pet because it was an “emotional support animal” instead of a “service animal.” He chose to resolve the dispute by accommodating Goldman because she signed a lease to reside in the Chi Omega house before Entine. The administration then ordered Entine to get rid of her pet or move out.Entine filed a suit seeking an order forbidding OSU from enforcing the directive. She also filed a motion for a temporary restraining order to preserve the status quo while her suit was pending.After a hearing, the district judge decided Entine was facing irreparable harm because her position as vice president of the sorority required her to reside in the sorority house. He also ruled there was no written policy, procedure, or legal authority for Lissner to resolve the dispute in the way he did.The judge was also troubled by testimony that Lissner had been told that Goldman's father had suggested Goldman rub her face in Entine's things to worsen her allergic reaction.The judge issued the temporary injunction, ordering that OSU couldn't enforce its ultimatum while the suit was pending.
Campus Legal Advisor – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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